'The Curse Of Love' is a neat record, filled with the mystic folk and lithe psychedelia that made them so refreshing back in the day. The knowledge that it was produced on a Tascam eight-track recorder adds to the dusted off aesthetic, but the real goods are in the dream-like, Lennon-flavoured beauty of 'Gently' and the powerful fuzz-bombs of 'The Watcher In The Distance', songs that should never have gathered dust in the first place.
Alles klingt noch psychedelischer als gewohnt, eine träumerische Art verschafft sich Platz und James Skelly berichtet andächtig über die britische Geschichte und Natur. Inspiration kommt von den altbekannten Vorbildern The Doors, Love und Echo & The Bunnymen. Beim Anblick des Covers muss man auch an Caravan denken, die Farbgebung ähnelt der auf In The Land Of Grey And Pink. Ohne den Druck, einen Hit abliefern zu müssen, fließt alles wie von selbst zusammen, ganz ungestört.
Some pretty minimalist instrumentation keeps The Curse of Love firmly in the realm of middle-of-the-road folk, although the album suffers from some really odd production choices. The weird, wobbly synth that runs through "Wrapped In Blue" and "You Closed the Door" sticks out like a sore thumb in an otherwise consistent sounding LP, whilst the two instrumental tracks "The Second Self" and "Nine Times The Colour Red" mis-fire horribly.
There are a few moody, atmospheric highlights – "View From The Mirror" and "Willow Song" both achieve an eerie kind of beauty – but for the most part The Curse of Love doesn’t offer any of the pop hooks that made early Coral albums so enjoyable. "The Watcher In The Distance" makes an attempt at anthemia that falls flat on its face, and otherwise James Skelly’s vocal talent feels wasted on a record that miserably plods along.
The album’s real saving graces are its opening and closing title tracks, which share the same chorus but evoke different feelings. "Curse Of Love (Part One)" starts things off on a bit of a downer, with Skelly moping about “shadows against the wall”, whilst part two ends the record on a New Flamenco-inspired high. It’s an intriguing choice that mirrors the tone of the album, which starts depressingly and perks up towards the end.
(...) The band’s strength has always lied in melodic psychedelia and ska, and whilst this isn’t their first attempt at folk, it’s by far their weakest. Considering their reputation as one of the Noughties' most inventive indie bands, it probably would have been for the best if The Curse Of Love had stayed lost.